+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – Hebrews 12:14-29(NLT)
A Call to Listen to God
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.
You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.
“Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking.”
– Hebrews 12:25 –
The remainder of the Book of Hebrews addresses the question: “How are Christians to live in a hostile society?”
This world is not our home; our goal is “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” We are on pilgrimage to the city of God – a journey characterized by faith and hope in Jesus Christ, and faithfulness to the new covenant he has established.
In today’s reading we are warned not to get sidetracked, but to stay on the path that God has chosen for us. How then shall we live?
+ listening to God
+ being thankful
+ pleasing God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe
+ living in peace with everyone
+ living a holy life
+ looking after each other
Watch out for:
+ a poisonous root of bitterness
+ immorality or godlessness
+ the refusal to listen to God
And finally – stay the course, holding onto Jesus.
You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people,
and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness…. – Hebrews 12:24
Questions for consideration:
- Do you believe that the society in which you live is hostile to Christian living? Please explain?
- What are some of the obstacle that you face personally? Please explain?
- If Jesus has already forgiven us, why do we need to work at holy living? Please explain.
- How do you listen to God for direction? What form does that take? Please explain.
- Can you think of someone you can help today – a pilgrim who is struggling? Please explain.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the blessing of children and the hope they give for the future of our faith. Watch over them and protect them from the wiles and deceit of the evil one. Teach them that your ways bring abundant life, and strengthen them in Christ Jesus, so that they will never know a day apart from you. We ask this in Jesus name, and for your glory. Amen.
Prayer for Living in the Peace of God (in the tradition of Francis of Assisi):
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is error, truth; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
“This World is Not My Home” – Charity Youth Bible School
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen